What is a Foot Specialist (Podiatrist)

Perhaps you’ve been referred to a podiatrist, or just want to know more about how a foot specialist can help you. Find out more here.


  • What is Podiatry?
  • What does a Podiatrist or foot doctor’ do?
  • How can a Podiatrist help you?
  • What happens at the consultation?
  • What treatment can a Podiatrist give?

Whether you’re running for the bus, jogging on the treadmill or just walking to work – our feet take a lot of impact in our day to day life. However, unless we injure them it’s unlikely you spend too much time thinking about their health.

If you have hurt your feet or lower limbs, you may be referred to a Podiatrist, formerly known as a chiropodist. These foot experts can be vital in maximising your recovery and diagnosis, that’s why they play a crucial role in Pure Sports Medicine’s multi-discipline team.

This blog will give you insight into what a Podiatrist does and what to expect from your appointment.

What is Podiatry? #

Podiatry is the medical speciality that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and management of diseases, defects and injuries sustained to the foot, ankle and lower limb.

Podiatry can range from the treatment and management of skin, nail complaints; high-risk diabetes and arthritis patients and musculoskeletal complaints.

What does a Podiatrist or foot doctor’ do? #

Podiatrists are experts in foot and ankle anatomy and structure. Their work involves looking at how individual variances such as load and movement pathways can influence injury and recovery.

At Pure Sports Medicine, our Podiatrists are experts in musculoskeletal (MSK) podiatry. They focus on the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of foot, ankle and lower extremity complaints.

How can a Podiatrist help you? #

By looking at the way the foot moves, the force or load’ being put on to it and, if relevant, any current or prior injuries, a Podiatrist can assess and suggest treatments to help reach your goal.

These goals can be related to an injury, such as rehabilitating a sprain, or performance focused like beating your personal best running time.

Typically our Podiatrists see sub-acute or chronic, longer-term lower extremity pain that has occurred without particular incident. Such as regular aches in runner’s ankles or persistent heel pain with walking. It’s these gradual onsets, overuse injuries that haven’t resolved as expected that Podiatrist’s knowledge base is best equipped to deal with.

With this in mind, the common injuries Podiatrists treat are plantar heel pain, midfoot and forefoot pain, ankle pain, anterior knee pain, exercise-induced lower leg pain and arthritic changes in the ankle and foot joints.

What happens at the consultation? #

Your consultation will start with the Podiatrist finding out necessary details about your problem. This consists of a thorough subjective history of your presenting complaint; including current activity levels in addition to your future goals.

It is likely the Podiatrist will move onto an Initial Gait Analysis. Put simply, this is a way of looking at the way you walk or run. This is followed by a hands-on non-weight-bearing assessment going through your individual lower limb and foot alignment, joint ranges of motion, strengths and special tests depending on your current ailment. These assessments will give the Podiatrist a lot of value in how the foot in conjunction with the lower limb behaves during strength and balance testing as well as when moving.

The Podiatrist can use these two assessments together to correlate the movement pathways of a particular walking and running gait, in line with the injured structure. This will provide insight on the amount of load the region is withstanding.

It is likely the Podiatrist will move onto a Gait Analysis. Put simply, this is a way of looking at the way you walk or run. This is regularly captured by video gait analysis and utilised as a diagnostic and treatment tool to help educate the patient in addition to gaining further understanding of their individual movement pathway.

Podiatrists have a strong understanding that there is no perfect movement pathway and variation between foot and ankle movements is high and normal; we embrace the variation and develop patient-specific clinical models of foot function.

By identifying the issue within the assessment, your podiatrist can help to manipulate the force being passed through the injured region, to a level that is more tolerable. This helps enable healing and further progression with rehabilitation to allow this injured structure to tolerate more load asymptomatically.

What treatment can a Podiatrist give? #

Podiatrist’s conservative treatment options to help assist with your recovery can range from, but are not limited to:

• footwear advice (running and casual)

• functional foot orthoses (custom and pre-fabricated)

• running gait re-training

• exercise programmes

• Taping & strapping

• joint mobilisations

• acupuncture

The Podiatrists at Pure Sports Medicine work closely with their colleagues as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Together with physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches and pilates instructors, we’ll focus on the right recovery path for you. In cases where further investigation or more invasive treatment is required our Podiatrists are closely aligned with our highly regarded Sports Doctors and Foot and Ankle Surgery Consultants across the London area to maximise your care.

If you’re suffering any foot or ankle pain that is encroaching on your daily or sporting activities please do contact our Pure Sports Medicine team and consult a member of our Podiatry team on the form below.

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Which service do you require?
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8 months ago